tv 911 In Our Own Words MSNBC September 10, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
♪ oh, another one just hit! >> a very large plane just flew directly over my building. >> the instant that second plane hit that second tower, the looks that were exchanged in that studio were chilling, and i'll never forget them. >> they were eyewitnesses to history. >> there has been a declaration of war by terrorists on the united states. >> i think the role of a journalist is to tell everyone that there is a new reality here. >> america under attack, live on the air. >> what we have just seen is about the most shocking videotape i've ever seen. >> and behind the scenes.
>> he leaned in, and he said if i were you, i would stay off the e ring the rest of the day because we're next. and it sent a chill down my spine. >> looking back at that momentous day -- >> to get through that morning took everything i knew as a journalist, as a husband, as a father, as a human being. >> and in the days and weeks that followed. >> it was my first look at the charred latticework of the remains of the world trade center. >> stories seared in my memories. >> he was one of the heroes who went to the world trade center that day, wasn't he? >> this little boy's world had gone away. >> who are you looking for? >> my son thomas. >> and i remember thinking that's the emblematic mother, that's the mother of all of us. >> that that moment occurred on
our watch, on our air, on live television. >> it's been 10 years and i am still affected by it. it's the 11th day of september, 2001. you're looking at people gathered outside our study quo here on a sunny tuesday morning. >> september 11th, 2001 strikes me as being a normal, typical late summer day in new york, except for one thing. >> al, it is such a pretty morning, isn't it? >> a perfect fall morning. >> i remember thinking if you were going to take a picture of the skyline of new york to lure people, tourists to come to this city to experience it, that would be the day you would want to take the picture. it was nothing that could have foreshadowed that this was going to be an extraordinary day, much less a day that would change the world and change all of our lives. so we just went about our business that day. >> nbc's david gregory is traveling with the president.
he is in longboat key, florida this morning. david, good morning to you. >> good morning, matt. the president is in the middle of a two-day swing here in florida to promote his education plan, which is stuck in congress. >> morning starts fairly early. the president talk about education, was going to sit down and read to the students in that elementary school. read them a story. so that was going to be the signature picture of the day that we were going to get. >> howard hughes lived the american dream. he dated beautiful movie stars and made record-breaking flights. >> just before 8:50 a.m., i am interviewing a guy named richard hack who wrote a book about howard hughes. >> you say this was a different perspective an howard hughes. >> it was a typical book segment. i've done thousands of them. and there was nothing that stood out until at some point i guess about halfway through the interview, you know, we wear these earpieces.
and the misconception i think people have is that they're always talking to us in those earpieces. the truth of the matter is in the middle of an interview, they're rarely ever saying anything to you. so when a voice does pop up through your earpiece into your ear, it catches your attention. in my ear somebody simply said we think a plane has crashed into the world trade center. let's go there. >> i have got to interrupt you right now. richard hack, thank you very much. we appreciate. the book is called "hughes." we want to go live right now and show you a picture of the world trade center. >> and we're look at these two monitor, and the next thing you know, it dips to black, and up from black comes this image of the world trade center. >> we've been told that this is a plane. we don't have confirmation on that. but there is an enormous hole. >> i remember looking at the building when i finally did get a glimpse at the scar on the building, thinking that had to be a pretty substantial plane. >> on the phone, we do have jennifer oberstein who apparently witnessed this event.
jennifer, can you hear me? >> jennifer oberstein had just exited a subway station when she heard an explosion and she looked up, and she saw this, you know, fire coming out of the building and smoke coming out of the building, and debris and paper and everything. and she began to recount for us what she had seen. >> i'd never seen any fire like this in the air. and the pieces of the building were flying down. it looks like it's the -- it's like the top -- i can't even tell you, maybe 20 floors. intense smoke. it's horrible. i can't even describe it. >> the one thing that struck me about jennifer on the phone was how shaken she sounded. >> i'm stuttering because i'm in such shock. i'd never seen anything like it. it's horrible. >> i can almost visualize her holding the phone and her hand shaking. that's how she sounded to me. >> on tuesday morning, i get a call shortly before 9:00.
some plane has run into the world trade center. maybe you better come in. i have that odd memory of going in to get dressed in a hurry and putting on a more sober tie, thinking this could be a long day, not having any idea what i was in for. >> it started pretty much as a typical day for me at the pentagon. i arrived pretty early, and i was sitting at my desk in the nbc pentagon office, and suddenly i hear this announcement. >> we have a breaking news story to tell you about. apparently a plane has just crashed into the world trade center here in new york city. >> and my head just whipped around. at one point, i got about this close to the tv. and as i looked and i saw the smoke pouring out of that hole, i said that's not a private plane. that's a much larger hole. so i got up, shot into the pentagon hallway, 17 1/2 miles of corridors and started working every inch of it. >> one of our very best
producers was a woman named elliott walker. >> elliott, can you hear me? >> yes, hi, katie. >> tell me where you are and what you saw. >> elliott lived down in the area too, and she was a real pro. elliott had been there, done that, seen everything. and when she started to describe what she was witnessing from a real journalistic point of view, the story started to take shape for me. >> from where i was on the street a moment ago, you can in fact see smoke leaving the building on three sides. it seems to be coming out on at least four or five floors. >> but then all of the sudden elliott walker said something to the effect of, "my god, there is another one". >> oh, another one just hit. something else just hit. a very large plane just flew directly over my building and there has been another collision. can you see it? something else -- and that looks like a 747. >> we just saw a plane circling the build g >> i don't remember ever having seen an explosion like that.
i knew how big those buildings were. i mean, they were massive. the idea that something could hit the southern side of that tower and create that kind of fireball coming out on the northern side blew my mind. it just -- it took a while to even register with me. >> jennifer, did you see this happen? >> not -- i -- i -- i've never -- it looks like a movie. i saw a large plane, like a jet go immediately headed directly into the world trade center. it just flew into it, into the other tower coming from south to north. i watched the plane fly into the world trade center. >> the instant that second plane hit that second tower, the looks that were exchanged in that studio were chilling. and i'll never forget them. >> you will see what appears to be a large plane. it could be a 727 right there, maybe even bigger, flying right into the side of the world trade center. >> the first thing i did was look at katie. and i remember mouthing the
words to her, terrorism. and she looked at me, and that was it. this was not an accident. this was a deliberate act of terrorism. >> we're going to immediately check with air traffic control in the area to find out if they had contact with either of these planes before the accident. but what we've just seen is about the most shocking videotape i've ever seen. >> you have to understand what is happening in the studio at this point. there were people crying. there were pretty seasoned professionals crying. i remember one person in particular operating a camera with tears streaming down his face. i'm sure if you would have seen me and katie, we were probably white as ghosts. but i've never seen that kind of emotion, spontaneous emotion in one place like that before. there was a -- an instant
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i've never seen anything like it. it literally flew itself into world trade center. >> shortly after the second plane hit the south tower, something that happened in the studio that never was spoken about on the air, but was an important part of i know my experience, and i think everyone's experience who was in the studio that day, and that was that as we were watching these events unfold, and we watched that second plane hit live on our air, not only are we broadcasters and journalists at that time, but i'm a new yorker. and, you know, i was born in this city. my family also lives here. i had a 2-month-old baby.
and the city we lived in was under attack. >> and we want to just mention that when the impact hit the first tower, you would hope that people who are in the second tower were beginning to evacuate. >> and so i remember scribbling on a piece of paper, you know, please call my wife and her cell phone number, and handing it to a great guy in the studio who is kind of one of the studio managers, and just find out that everybody was okay. >> jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon now. mik, are you hearing any more information from there? >> pentagon officials are already calling this a terrorist attack. >> the first time i heard the word terrorism out of any u.s. official came shortly after the second plane had hit. and i bumped into a u.s. military intelligence official, and i said, look, what have you got? and he said obviously this is
clearly an act of terrorism. and then he got very close to me and almost silent for a few seconds, and he leaned in and he said this attack was so well coordinated that if i were you, i would stay off the e ring where our nbc office was. the outer ring of the pentagon the rest of the day, because we're next. and it sent a chill down my spine. >> all right, david gregory is now on the phone from longboat key actually. david? >> yes, katie, the president is about to begin an education event, which is obviously being canceled. >> after the second plane hit, it goes from being just a mundane picture of the day to becoming a seminal event for our country. and i'm there with the president on that very occasion.
>> today we've had a national tragedy. two airplanes have crashed into the world trade center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. >> after the president's remarks, he speaks to the country, the atmosphere in the press corps was frenzied, confused. >> as soon as the president leaves that location, we are in the worst place in the world. his top advisers are gone, and we're stuck. >> this is clearly according to the u.s. government is a terror attack, as you heard the president say. of course, the best known is osama bin laden. but no alert coming from his organization. >> because of my beat, counterterrorism, intelligence, having covered al qaeda for, you know, years before that, the first thing i thought of that day was this has the hallmark of al qaeda, and it has the hallmark of osama bin laden. >> as far as they know, as of
this morning, as of this minute, he is in afghanistan. >> so what i was doing was calling intelligence sources, and particularly at the cia saying who other than bin laden? and i was being told only bin laden could have pulled this off. >> they are assuming, and obviously informed the president that this is a terror attack. >> ever since i started as a reporter, in the late '60s, early '70s, i've known that you have to separate the personal from the professional. but i'm married to alan greenspan, who at the time was chairman of the board of the federal reserve. so my concern immediately is they're attacking wall street. is this symbolic? will they also attack individuals? then i realized my husband was in an airplane. for hours i didn't know where he was. and i was calling his office, and they were trying to reach him. and so i was really terrified
about how broad this conspiracy was and how many other planes might be out there. >> let's go to nbc's jim miklaszewski at the pentagon now. mik, what can you tell us? >> i remember we did a phone interview with jim miklaszewski at the pentagon because we obviously wanted to know what the military's response to these first two planes hitting would be. did they have some advance notice? what were they doing? >> to add what andrea just said, senior officials here at the pentagon are saying they're getting information that the american airlines flight 11, after it left boston, apparently, was hijacked and was diverted apparently -- >> and we finished jim's report, and it was just a short time after that that he started signaling to our producers that he had something he needed to add. >> it was clear nobody was listening to me, because i was saying it's mik, something has happened here at the pentagon.
mik at the pentagon. i'm going come to me, come to me. and they stopped what they were talking about, and katie said there is apparently some development, something like that. let's go to mik at the pentagon. >> larry, i'm sorry to interrupt you, but jim miklaszewski has some new information at the pentagon. i hope you'll stand by and continue to talk with us. mik? >> katie, i don't want to alarm anybody right now, but apparently it felt a few minutes ago that there was an explosion here at the pentagon.
it was shortly after 9:30. i was actually in my office on the phone with my wife. and new york was in my earpiece, saying hey, get ready. we want you to talk to katie on the air. >> obviously, nobody knows exactly who was at the controls of the plane, but it broke off its route from -- to los angeles. >> i was finished, and just as i threw it back, almost
instantaneously, book, the plane hit the pentagon. >> we're looking at pictures of the pentagon where there is billowing smoke. mik, can you talk to us? >> officially, nobody knows what happened. i think the picture is pretty clear. >> we were several hundred yards away from where the plane struck the building. but i could feel the room shake and the windows rattled. >> and as i was in the hallway just a few moments ago, i could smell an acrid kind of smoke, and authorities are clearing the building. >> within minutes, they had already sent out the word to evacuate the building. but, you know, i felt i had to stay at the camera for even a short period of time to report what critical information we knew about what was happening. >> i don't know if you can hear the sirens outside right now, but it appears that i think people here in the building are already describing as a highly
sophisticated, coordinated attack, not only against the world trade center, but against the pentagon and u.s. military right here in washington. >> and i tried to relay as much of that as possible before essentially we were forced to evacuate the building. >> i'm joined by tom brokaw. we'll try to recap -- >> i was on the air with katie and matt. and it's odd. as it plays back in my memory bank, everything seemed to be both surreal and in slow motion, because i was having a hard time coming to grips with what we were seeing. >> we have this as a major development. the federal aviation administration has shut down all air traffic nationwide. this country has been immobilized by these terroristic attacks in terms of air travel today, and we don't know where it goes from here. >> i later said that to get through that morning and that day and all the days that followed took everything that i
knew as a journalist, as a husband, as a father, as a human being. >> some of the reports we were hearing were so devastating that we really had to stop and be careful about what we did and didn't say on the air. i remember one -- one person telling me who was down on the scene and who i actually had a chance to speak to on the phone, not on the air, telling me that from where he was standing, he could hear and feel the impact of people jumping out of the building. and that's when as a human being, you have to think how awful could it be in that building at that moment for these people to decide that their best option, their best option was to jump out to certain death.
>> we moved what we thought was a safe distance, at least what the pentagon police thought was a safe distance from the building. and it was about that time too that suddenly an f-16, i mean, it seemed like it was at tree top level, just roar overhead. >> katie, there was a very telling, dramatic moment just a second ago when a u.s. air force f-16 flew very low levels at a wide sweeping turn around the pentagon and back over washington. >> and there was an air force colonel standing next to me, and he looked up. and i'll never forget his words. he said, "oh my god, we're flying cap" -- combat air patrols -- "over the nation's capital." >> he was profoundly struck by the idea that america was under attack.
>> 9:59, which was watching the monitors, that now familiar shot of the twin towers with the smoke billowing out. and then all of the sudden it was clear something monumental was happening to the south tower. >> we just saw a live picture of what seemed to be a portion of the building falling away from the world trade center. if we can rerack that to about 20 seconds ago, you'll see something dramatic happening. >> and so i remember just asking the control room to rerack the tape. and i still didn't want to definitively say the whole building had collapsed, because, you know, by this time, after an hour or so of covering this, we were very aware of the fact that there were people watching at home who had loved ones in those buildings. and to be the person who would say on the air that building has
collapsed would be final. it would be -- that would have been the end. >> let's go back to a few second ago. this is now about an hour after the first impact. we with saw some dramatic footage of a portion of one of the twin towers actually it appearing to fall away from the rest of the building. can we go to the tape now? here we go right here. this is -- when you look at it, the building has collapsed. that tower just came down. >> that was the worst moment of the day for me, by far. it was worse than the explosion, the fireball when the second plane hit. the image of that building collapsing, to think that it literally fell down. i couldn't -- i could not -- i couldn't grasp that. i just couldn't. >> to think about the possible loss of life that just occurred by the collapse of that southeastern tower is just amazing.
>> i was thinking how many people are trapped. we thought the numbers were huge. we didn't know how many had gotten out. and it was terrifying. >> when the building collapsed, it was a different emotion that swept through the studio, i think. there was this incredible sadness for what we knew was just a monumental loss of life. but there was also i think an anger. it made me sick to my stomach, and it made me angry. i think as i looked around the studio, those looks of horror and the tears changed in that instant. and there was this look of anger. (announcer vo) all your phones can work together on one number. you can move calls between phones, so conversations can go where you go. take your time. i'm not going anywhere. (announcer vo) and when you're not available,
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basket of deplorables. trump is jumping on it. >> man who tried to assassinate president reagan now released from medical hospital to live with mother in virginia. back to 9/11. in our own words. >> it is difficult to kplend but this country, stroengest country in the world has been the target of a coordinated terrorist attack and the end is not over yet. of all the events i covered on television, nothing like this. it was live. kennedy was not shot live on
television for example. had a moment to think about what to say once you digested the news. in this case it was improvisational. >> there has never been an event to match the magnitude of this one. financial markets zhount. there's an untold loss of life here in manhattan, nerve center of america to say nothing of what is goping on in the penn gone. of that morning, we were getting -- people were handing us pieces of paper, wire copy, stories that were breaking, eyewitness accounts from people that we couldn't actually find out if they knew what they were talk about. >> can you tell me about the injuries you're seeing and the numbers of people you've been treating? >> we've seen a steady stream of patients for approximately an hour and a half. >> that day we were skiing in an avalanche. that's the only way to describe it. we were just trying to keep our heads above the cascade of
information, keeping stable, trying to keep the information in a coherent form. >> we've gotten a report now that a car bomb has exploded outside the state department. can we go to anyone for more information on that? >> where is andrea mitchell? is she at the state department? >> at one point that morning, matt asked me about a report that there had been a car bomb outside the state department and people evacuated. and i was calling people over there, and they said it wasn't true. >> i do not have confirmation of that. >> all right. >> they did evacuate the state department, but we do not have confirmation at this moment about a car bomb. >> we had to sort through fact from fiction and rumor. it's extraordinary that there wasn't more inaccurate information on the air, on everyone's air, because when you think of what was happening at the pentagon, for instance, it's pretty astounding. >> andrea, thanks. i'm sorry to interrupt, but we're going to go back to jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. mik? >> there was one very dramatic
moment i remember when jim said that the people were -- were being told not only to get out of the building, but to take cover. >> security forces in the area have just blared out over their loud speakers that any pedestrians who are anywhere near the pentagon to take cover immediately. >> you get out of a burning building. you do that at your house if it were burning. you take cover when you're under attack. >> so far all we see are security helicopters circling the pentagon. again, the skies are crystal clear blue. and i can't see the speck of an airplane. >> mik, thank you very much. we want to move a couple of miles way from you right now to white house where bob kerr is standing by. bob, we understand that building has now been evacuated? >> that is true. it is utterly surreal. as soon as word came of the pentagon incident, we were rather forcefully removed from the white house. the scene was one of administrators, cooks, whatever, running at fairly high speed all the way out of the building
through the top gates. >> it was still very much believed that there was more that was about to happen, that this attack was still very much in progress. there were other planes we didn't know where they were. so the only thing we could sit there and guess was what could be next. [ screaming ] >> let's look at these live pictures at the world trade center. the other tower of the world trade center has just collapsed. you are looking at live pictures of the second twin tower at the world trade center collapsing as a result of the crash of an airplane into its side. >> the profile of manhattan has been changed. there has been a declaration of
war by terrorists on the united states. >> when the second tower went down, and tom brokaw said, you know, that this is a declaration of war against our country, i don't know that i had viewed it in that way up until that instant. i -- i thought we have an act of terrorism, but, you know, when you hear tom brokaw, you know, the voice of a generation of news watchers say the words "this is a declaration of war," it sinks in. >> the role of a journalist is to tell everyone that there is a new reality here. i knew that we were changed, that at that moment we were a different country.
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we now have an ap news alert out of pittsburgh. officials at somerset county airport are confirming the crash of a large plane just north of the airport. >> when we first heard that another plane had crashed, there clearly was no way to definitively connect what happened to that plane to what had already happened in new york city and washington. at that moment, we do not know whether that crash of that plane is related to what has become an obvious terrorist attack. >> but i think it would be fair to say that none of us believed in ridiculous coincidences. and so we all assumed at that point that it would be too great a coincidence for a fourth commercial airliner to be involved in a catastrophic event on that same morning and have it not connected. but we didn't know the story. we didn't know what turned out
to be maybe one of the most dramatic stories of that entire day. >> at the time we didn't know, clearly, about the heroism of the passengers and how they had prevented that attack from taking place. we later learned that the plane, the hijackers were heading to the nation's capitol. >> think of how catastrophic that would have been if they had been able to pull off the white house or the capitol. thank god for all of those brave people on united 93, that they were able to rush the cockpit. and the way that they got together, and a lot of them were kind of jockey guys who were weekend athletes at the back of the plane and decided this is what they had to do, and got the beverage cart to rush the cockpit, give their lives willingly, heroically. and my guess is in utter rage. my guess is that when they hit
that cockpit, they thought i'm going to die, but so are you, and you're going to die on my terms, not on your terms. >> it was a short time after the buildings collapsed that we first started seeing some of our colleagues joining us in studio 1a in rockefeller center. and the first thing i remember is ron insana walking in our studio, covered in dust. all you had to do is see that image of ron, and you know what he had been through and what he had just witnessed. >> as we were cutting across in a quarantine zone actually, the building began to disintegrate. we heard it and looked up and started to see elements of the building come down. and we ran. and honestly, it was like a scene out of "independence day." >> when ron insana walked into the studio, it was stunning to me. i was close to him personally and he was so shaken. >> everything began to rain down. it was pitch black around us as though the winds were whipping around
us through the lower corridors in manhattan. >> it was just the smell. it was a combination of odors that i had not smelled on my human being. >> ron, we're happy to see you. >> thank you. you have no idea how happy i am to be here. >> it is a relief. but then you think about the experiences of thousands of other people who are down there in the epicenter of all that and were there when it occurred. our hearts go out to them. we don't know what the numbers are yet. >> he was down there doing his jo that had not occurred to me about how much collateral damage there may be on the ground with people who could have gotten caught in all that. >> we have a report here that osama bin laden, who is often identified as the world's leading terrorist, warned three weeks ago that he and his followers would carry out an unprecedented attack on u.s. interests for support of israel, and arab journalists with access to him tuesday in london -- >> given the way the attack was carried out, there was no other terrorist organization in the world so hell-bent on attacking
the united states with the kind of organization, skill, experience, and wherewithal to carry out that attack. so from the very get-go, al qaeda was the prime suspect. >> he is obviously a zone of -- a zealot of great, dark passion, and most of it directed at the united states. >> the anxiety of not knowing where my husband was -- was a recurring theme, tension, stress. shortly before 3:00, our producer said go to the bulletin camera and recap all the day's events at the top of the hour with tom brokaw. so as i was hooking myself up, my cell phone went off, and my husband had just landed back in switzerland. and he was saying to me what is going on? what has happened to the united states? and so i -- in my ear i heard the producer saying andrea, are you ready?
are you ready? we're coming to you. so i put -- i took the phone and i said just listen, just listen. i'm going to recap it all. and i put my cell phone in my lap and started just recounting all the day's events. >> that's correct, tom, where the vice president is at a secure location. bush at a secure location. condoleezza rice, the national security adviser was conducting national security council meetings in the situation room at the white house, even though the white house was evacuated. >> and that's how my husband, who was then the chairman of the federal reserve found out what had happened to the u.s. >> this country has suffered a devastating attack that will cost us in the sense of loss of life. it will also cost us in terms of our psychological security that we have in this country. >> as a student of history, i've always been interested in what i called the bold print, you know, the chapter headings. 9/11 is a chapter heading. this is when america was
changed. this is when the world began a new kind of warfare. was i thinking great thoughts at that moment? no. what i was thinking was we're on to something new here and how it's going to play out, i don't know yet. >> what i think of now in retrospect is that it really was the loss of innocence. it was the last free time where we didn't have to think that terrorists were really going to attack us on the home front. >> our politics became almost exclusively about fighting terrorists and securing the country. and of course we went to war. >> this has been perhaps the most devastating day in american history in terms of terrorism. it certainly has been. four separate attacks obviously coordinated and coordinated fairly thoroughly. unclear now as to how many lives have been lost, but the numbers are bound to be staggering.
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♪ that night we were starting to get the families coming into lower manhattan looking for loved ones whom they had not heard from. and i was particularly taken with a gray-haired mother from new jersey i later discovered saying has anybody seen tommy swift. >> who are you looking for? >> my son thomas swift.
>> she looked like the mother of all my friends. and i remember thinking that is the emblematic mother. that's the mother of all of us. it's been ten years, and i am still affected by it. tommy swift was the only member of the family to go to college. he had a job at morgan stanley. and he had called home to say i'm getting out of here and didn't get out. and i -- i really thought that that family, that loss synthesized in so many ways the experience of so many people. why would tommy swift be the target of islamic rage? how outrageous is this?
>> it took a day or two i think for the -- the vastness of this event to really sink in with me. and i think it became more dramatic the further removed from it we all became as we started to hear the stories of heroism and of loss. we started to learn what people had gone through that morning and what they had sacrificed. we started to understand how many children had lost parents. we interviewed a young boy named kevin hickey. and his father was a new york city fireman who had gone into the building after the planes had struck. >> your dad was a firefighter? >> yep. >> what company was he with? >> 64. >> in queens, right? >> yep. >> as i started to ask him about his father, this 10-year-old boy broke down. >> he was one of the heros who went to the world trade center that day, wasn't he? >> yes.
>> it's a lot for a 10-year-old to have to handle. >> and, you know, i didn't know what to do, to be honest with you. i put my hand on his back, but there were no word i could offer. there was nothing i could do to ease his pain. meeting him just drove it home to me because this guy -- this little boy's world had gone away. it had disappeared. >> we wanted to figure out what we could do to maybe make you smile a little bit and give you a fun afternoon. and we know you like the yankees, right? >> yes. >> how do you feel about their manager, joe torre? >> he is grumpy. >> he is grumpy?
>> this is joe torre. hi, kevin. how you? >> good. >> nice meeting you. i understand you're a yankee fan. >> yes. >> i stayed in touch with kevin quite a while, and he made it. but it didn't make it easily. there were a lot of tough times. his family was really torn apart by this. that's the human side of this. that's the part that gets me so much. it was so senseless. it was so unnecessary. it was so evil, and it devastated so many people. >> it was the morning that the president was going to go to new york and visit ground zero. this was friday, september 14th. >> i remember how emotional the morning was. >> the president meeting with family members throughout the day, and then ultimately going back to ground zero. what we now call his bullhorn
moment when he was with the firefighter bob beckwith and put his arm around him. and people started shouting "we can't hear you". >> i can hear you. the rest of the world hears you. [ cheering ] >> and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon. [ cheering ] >> what keeps coming back to me is that what he was able to do so successfully that day was reflect the emotions that the american people felt. there was such intense sorrow. there was shock. there was confusion. but there was an anger, and there was resolve. people wanted to get going. people wanted to retaliate. and i think he captured all of those things at once. >> usa! usa! usa! >> for ten years, 9/11, in one
way or another has been my life. just about everything we do out of the pentagon is somehow related to 9/11. when the smoke cleared and the fires were out, and all the ceremonies were over, 9/11 still lives. and i'm not exaggerating when i say that there are still nights when i close my eyes and i see that plane flying into the building. >> the upside of all this is the ingenious of the human mind to respond to something big like this. stop and think about that. there were not people wailing, running up and down the streets saying the world has come to an end. i always think there is
something very instructive about that, that we respond with intelligence and compassion and with resolve to get on with our lives and to do what we need to do. >> 9/11 is and i think will always be the most important story i've ever covered, and i've covered wars as a result of 9/11, iraq and afghanistan. but the idea that that moment occurred on our watch, on our air, on live television and took so many twists and turns as we were trying to describe it to the american people, i don't think i'll ever face a challenge that great again. i hope i don't, to be perfectly honest with you. i hope there is nothing that ever even approaches that in terms of my professional career. that was the seminal moment for me.
we went to afghanistan. went up to the mountains, change of vehicle, blindfolded. i calculated it was around midnight that bin laden finally showed up. mr. bin laden you declared a jihad against the united states. can you tell us why? he essentially said it was about american foreign policy in the middle east. we said who is targeted? he said we're targetin